That Was The London Super Comic Convention That Was

There's one thing everyone seemed to agree on at the London Super Comic Convention. It was a money vacuum cleaner.

Bob Layton told me that he took more money at this show than at… any other show. Vendors were telling me they sold far more product than at London MCM and Kapow! combined. Huw J reported six times the business he was expecting. Marvel had to go back to the warehouse on Saturday night to double up the books and they still sold out. IDW burned through all their hardcovers and trade… in their case going back to the office was not an option.

Fears that the £175 VIP Tickets for the Stan Lee experience would suck all the money out of the show were unfounded. The price was necessary apparently – Stan cost around £120,000 according to estimates, but they may well have sold enough to make that back! Stan certainly seemed to sign and take photos all through the weekend.

Creator after publisher after vendor reported fast sellouts, which inadvertently led to empty tables on Sunday. Artists doing sketches were booked up for the whole weekend hours into the show. The show expected around 5000, vistors a day, they got 8000. The draw of big name American comic creators, with Stan Lee at the top made a massive impact.

I understand the organisers have someone Stan Lee-sized planned for next year… but the question is, who could stand up to Stan Lee?

And people seemed to have fun. Even Tony Lee who began the show as a grumblepuss was turned round. I got to interview Stan Lee, George Perez and Mike Deodato for Disney – the results of which will no doubt air at some point – and had a whale of a time in the process.

The show seems to have found a golden formula – classic big names like George Perez, Bob Layton, Bill Sienkiewicz and Bernie Wrightson to attract the aging fanboy with a fat wallet as yet untouched by the recession, uoyed by actual name recognition of Stan Lee from a mass market, without having to try and overshadow the comics with movie and TV stars. It was an older, more male event than MCM, but for all that there were families, and more women than at any non-MCM comics event in the UK.

And while there are first time niggles – the spacing, the signage, maybe something more for a younger crowd, and a dedicated panel room to avoid the echo, tannoy and a better display of multi-media.

The venue, the ExCel Centre is a little out of the way, but it also has the entertaining juxtaposition of event as a result of being so large. In this case the London Super Comic Convention exhibited next to the Baby Show, Hotelympia and a Zumba convention, the attendees of which looked like they were in their own world of cosplay. Nothing will beat the juxtaposition between a Muslim faith event and MCM, which saw huddled Muslim scholars trying to avoid troops of Japanese schoolgirls.

I was happy to drop some money of my own, walking away with the new Spandex, Comic Book Comics, Space Babe 113, 18 This Summer, Parafect and Taroch. No doubt 'll be talking about them at length soon too.

So, yes, I'll be back next year. Hope you'll join me…

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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